What motivates you to work out? What drives your passion for fitness? What do you love about working out? For me there are a number of things but there’s one thing that stands head and shoulders above all the things I love about fitness. What is it? Competition. Not competition with anybody else, but the personal competition with myself and that opportunity that fitness gives us.
It’s you against you:
I’m a pretty competitive person in all areas of life but one of the main things I love about working out and fitness is you’re only in competition with one person – yourself. The only person you have to compete against is the you from yesterday. You should only ever be interested in comparing yourself to who you were yesterday or last week or last year – then ask yourself the question – am I better, worse or the same as before? And if I’m not better, what can I do to become better?
Too often people start working out or begin a personal training program – head into a gym or fitness centre and immediately start looking around – and instantly start comparing themselves to the other people in there. They look for the most in shape people in the gym – and say to themselves “What’s the point – I’ll never be like them.” You know what your right, you will never be like them, not because you don’t have the ability to achieve what they have achieved – you do, you most definitely do but on your terms – not theirs. You’ll never be like them because you’re not them, you’re you. So forget the “what’s the point” attitude, they started out exactly as you did – at the beginning – now their beginning may have been different than yours but they had a beginning nonetheless.
You should look at them for inspiration not comparison – you should look to emulate their drive, passion to succeed and work ethic to look the way they do. Don’t compare yourself to them. Listen we’re all guilty of it but, not just in the gym but in all aspects of life. Maybe it stems from our schooling – remember when you were in school and your teacher would say something like ”Hey look at such and such, he/she got this mark, now if everyone could work hard like them – ye’d all go far”. Maybe I’m been harsh on some of my teachers from the past I dunno – but either way, whatever the reason for it, we’re all programmed to look at others and compare ourselves to them either for better or worse. But in terms of fitness it doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be like that.
Your only concern whether you’re starting out or a fitness veteran should be on achieving your goals and bettering yourself and no one else. When you’re only competing against yourself – the feeling is amazing, your motivation sky rockets, you go into every workout expecting success, you don’t concern yourself with others in the gym – you enter what I call the “success zone”. It’s funny you even come across arrogant or self centred because you’re in your own “success zone” and everything else is irrelevant. When you focus on competing against yourself – your workouts are more: exciting, fun, challenging, there actually quicker because you’ll be so focussed on your own success you’ll have no time for idle chit chat or any of the other annoyances in the gym (post coming soon on this) that can slow you down or get in the way. This is a great add on benefit of “success zone” training because we all lead busy lives – so getting your workouts done in minimum time with maximum results is a big big bonus.
So how do you find your own “success zone? Finding your “success zone” isn’t easy but it’s definitely worth it. One way you can do it is by having clearly defined your fitness goals. Another way you can do it is by keeping track of your workouts and having a training log. You cannot expect to beat your personal best if you don’t know what it is. If you’re just starting out the easiest way to do this is try to make each workout that little bit faster than the last. Example if you did 5km on the rowing machine and it took you 30 minutes – next time aim to do it in 29 minutes. This way you only have two things to remember 1. Your workout, 2 the time. As you progress you should be more meticulous about recording your workouts.
Promise me in your next workout session, whether it be a walk, run, cycle, fitness centre – whatever. Only go in there thinking one thing – What can I do today to kick my own a** and better myself of yesterday. Do that and your writing your own success story…